Workflow question - new user

I am an new user for DxO Photolab 3.1.1. Can you folks provide your recommendation on when to use the noise reduction (define)? Should it be the 1st. step prior to even basic editing? that is the recommendation I see most often online.

Also 2nd. question, the library does not refresh after an processed image is added to the same location. the file exists and is accessible when going thru windows explorer but I have to shut down DxO and start again for the image to be recognized.


Welcome in the forum
Doesn’t matter, PhotoLab is a parametric software.
All corrections are applied when you export the image.

Menu Edit / Refresh
to updates the Image Browser display of the contents of the selected folder or project.


1 Like

…do you mean dfine from the nik collection or PhotoLab’s noisereduction?

Welcome to the group.
I have found that shooting in RAW and leveraging PL3’s Prime for noise does an excellent job for me. I would recommend to try comparing the RAW Prime and the same image with Define 2 to judge for yourself if there is enough difference for your situation for the additional workflow steps. I am just a hobbyist and Prime suits my needs for general editing.

To your specific question, when I do use Define 2, it is at the beginning of the workflow for me.

Perhaps I am not understanding your exact scenario for the second question. For me, the generated TIF that is created when I select NIK > Define 2 shows up immediately in the image browser view.

This is a known glitch that is being investigated in this thread: (maybe you can help resolve this!)

I’m assuming here that you mean the Nik Collection tool “Dfine” - - Right ? … In which case, if you’re using PhotoLab for your RAW file processing then you don’t need to go to the trouble of using any of the Nik noise reduction & sharpening tools (they’re just there for users of other RAW processors that don’t have the noise reduction & sharpening capabilities of PL).

  • instead, use PL’s PRIME noise reduction option, as necessary
  • PL will apply lens sharpening for you automatically, according to the body+lens combo used

I don’t see this problem on my Win10 environment - but I have seen this mentioned as an issue elsewhere (such as above, by @Egregius)

  • try pressing the F5 key to force a refresh (or via Menu: View - Refresh)

John M

1 Like


Some users up here already suggested you tu use Photo Lab noise reduction, especially with Prime option activated. But if you want to use Nik Define anyways, let me share some thoughts about the “correct” workflow.

First of all, it’s important to understand what you want to achieve. If you just need to tweak brightness and contrast just a bit, you don’t have to follow a particular sequence to get optimal results. But if you want to go a bit further, I’d suggest to do this before processing it with Dfine. Just don’t apply any sharpening, since it may make noise even worst and more difficult to process.

So, to sum up, what I’d do if I didn’t want to use Photo Lab noise reduction would be:

  1. Open RAW
  2. Correct exposure, contrast, color, white balance
  3. Export to Dfine as high quality tiff
  4. Back to Photo Lab, enhance sharpening or use other external tools

Hi Wildcat59 and other DxO experts,

Thx for the noise reduction suggestion. The Prime tool is very very good. I am still not able to get the image browser to show me the file that is send out from DxO as an export. it exists as DNG or TIF or any other format does not matter. The file gets exported, the outside tool does what it is supposed to do. I then know where the file is kept. I can see it in the windoiws explorer but despite pointing to that sub-dir in windows 10, refreshing every which way the files do not get refreshed in the browser. when i close the app and then directly from windows explorer right click and say open in DxO, it open and this time the images are there . so not sure what needs to be fixed. please help

hi Folks,

not sure what is going on. I opened a new NEF file in DxO Photolab 3. Basic edits and then clicked right mouse button to open in define (to reduce noise). when it was done, the define window closed. I can see the TIF file it created in windows explorer. I cannot get dxo photolab 3 to show it in the photolibrary. i have trial all the suggestions edit/refresh etc. this is very frustrating and not what I expected. please help

You haven’t activate a filter ?


no. I checked that the very first time. no filter activated. this is a bug. does not do it with the dxo generated file but any other file from a software outside does not recognize even when the format is compatible despite the refresh.

Just to be clear. You select a file, choose “Export to Application”. In the Export to application is “Define” in the drop down list or do you browse to the .exe file? After adjustments in Dfine you select “save” and then return to DXO?

The Tif you see in Explorer is in the same folder as the original raw?

Just trying to understand all of the steps. I just did this and everything is fine. Win 10 Pro 1909 Build 18363.657


Did you not see my reply 3 days ago? There is a known bug causing this behavior and it’s being worked on in another discussion thread. Do you have reason to believe that your problem is distinct from that one?